Addictions: Sex

Addictions: Sex
Dr. Phil speaks delivers a wake up call to guests with very dangerous addictions.
"Whenever I have an emotion that's out of the ordinary, I want to have sex," says Anne, who has had sex with over 200 men and a few women. "Whether I'm extremely happy, or extremely sad, or extremely stressed," she explains.

Anne used to meet men in bars, but now meets them over the Internet. "If we click and there's some chemistry and I like him, then we have sex," she says. But Anne recognizes that her behavior is dangerous. "My sex addiction is a monster that has taken over me. This addiction has ruined my life. It ruined a great marriage and it estranged me from my children." Anne says she is ready for a change. "I want the second half of my life to be better than the first half of my life," she says.

Anne says she's been told by other therapists why she behaves this way: She was sexually abused from the time she was a young child until she was a teen.

"There is absolutely no question that that has had a profound effect on who you are," says Dr. Phil. "You don't own that. That's not your fault. That's not your responsibility, not one bit. What you do about that now is your responsibility because no one can make that choice but you," he says. He asks her how she feels when she's having sex with these men.

"It's like a powerful drug," says Anne. "I feel in control, powerful, beautiful, sexy ... like I'm in charge of the situation."

"And then when you're home later, how do you feel then?" he asks her.

"Totally different," says Anne. "I feel very dirty and angry at myself — not my partner — I do take responsibility for my behavior. I feel angry at myself. I feel like I'm used goods and I'm very ashamed."

Anne's past abuse has been one of the defining moments in her life. Dr. Phil tells her: "At a very young age, they were writing on a blank slate: This is where you are, this is what you do, this is what you're good for ... It has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with the feeling of power because somebody early in your life took your self-esteem, your innocence, your value, and they wadded it up and threw it away."

Anne says she's angry because it caused her to lose so much in her life. "It's just been a nightmare," she says.

"You've never developed relationship skills. And the relationship that you develop that's more important than any other is your relationship with yourself. You don't know Anne. You've never met her for real. You don't recognize her true worth and value as one of God's creatures. You just don't get that or you wouldn't sell her down the river," he says.

Dr. Phil tells her that he's worried for her safety as well. Anne promises she will do everything she can to get to know herself, and Dr. Phil arranges for counseling in her town.